How to find calm with Stand Up Paddleboarding

I first tried Stand Up Paddleboarding last summer when we were lucky enough to spend a week at the Cadland Estate in a beautiful beach hut on the Solent. The very lovely people in the hut next door had some boards which piqued our interest from the start of the holiday. My little one quickly fell in love with our neighbours and she regularly went over to sit with them for dinner and had beach trawling missions to find heart shaped stones which would be turned into necklaces.

First attempt

We would sit out at the front of the beach hut and watch them set off on their paddleboards at different times of the day with a bit of awe and wonder at the skill involved. Throughout the week they kept offering to let me have a go but it wasn’t until the final day that I managed to pluck up the courage to go for it. It was a beautiful sunny day but the sea wasn’t as still as it had been on previous days. I was super pleased with myself that I managed to get on the board and loved paddling along on my knees – it was one of the calmest feelings! I couldn’t however make it to standing and fell off into the sea every time I tried.

Timed out

Fast forward a few months, I saw with interest that the wonderful CALM yoga studio was offering Stand Up Paddle Boarding lessons. By the time I found a slot it was early November and their last session of the year. I was hoping for a crisp, bright wintry day but when the day came it was wet and windy so with a bit of sadness, I decided to leave it until the Spring.

CALM at Burton

And so, a few weeks ago I made it down to the very beautiful Burton studio in the middle of of a very rainy and cold May. For some reason the sun gods shone down that night and we had a lovely sunny and still spring evening. Arriving in my wet suit, I was mainly excited if not a tiny bit nervous that I was going to manage ok. My main concern was my lack of feeling in my left foot and whether I was going to be able to balance. I was looking forward to finding that calm and peaceful feeling again from last summer but I did also want to see if I could manage to stand up this time.

Learning some technique

Meeting Dave and Hollie, our instructors for the session, I felt instantly at ease. Super knowledgeable, engaging, passionate about SUP and experienced at helping people try this for the first time, I knew we were in for a great session. Dave explained where we were going to go and key pointers for helping to make taking on the paddle board easier – this made such a difference. He also made me laugh a lot which was a great way of keeping any nerves at bay and helped reassure me that I would be ok with my numb foot which I was.

Standing Up

We got on to the water and practised paddling and turning on our knees before getting on our way. It was then the big moment to stand up and with Dave’s tips and advice, I managed it. The key point is to make sure you keep looking forwards rather than down at your feet. I was so proud! But then I got caught in a bit of a current which I needed a bit of upper arm strength to get out of and I was so grateful to Hollie for staying with me and guiding me through it. I also got a bit tangled in a tree at one point and yes I did fall in when my board hit the bank!

SUP Sunset

With the most beautiful sunset that evening, the calming water and the sense of achievement, it was a really lovely experience and one that I definitely want to try again. Apparently I can move onto the Improvers class but I think I might do beginners again one more time!

CALM classes

CALM are running SUP classes for all levels, as well as SUP Yoga (another goal for me! – not ready yet!) and beginners classes are limited to 6 people so you can get the maximum benefit from the instructor. There are a range of times and days available and they have everything you need including a wide range of boards, paddles and safety equipment. Dave, the lead instructor, has over 300 hours teaching experience.

Learn and laugh

If you are thinking about it, don’t hesitate – it’s a great way to be mindful, get into flow and get all those positive feels when you’ve accomplished something along with connecting with other people who are all in it together and ready to laugh and learn.
Click here for more details and to book